by Val Simon
The second grade teaching team at TBE
Second graders at Tommie Barfield Elementary are kept very busy by their teachers. In addition to learning ‘new math,’ which many students enjoy, the students carry out their typical lesson plans. But what is typical? For this busy group, the teachers spent part of the last quarter teaching the children about the first Thanksgiving. Not only the events that led to the first Thanksgiving, but also what types of foods and crafts were made during that period in time and how difficult life was in general. Students delved into the types of housing, clothing, customs, and the arts of various tribes from different regions. The children finished the program by learning about Native American crafts. Students rotated through each second grade classroom, making a Native American craft in each classroom. What about the ‘new math’? Teachers and students seem to have picked it up readily. A few parents, not familiar with the new process, need a bit more explanation. The basic concept is there are several different ways to get to the correct answer. The important thing is getting the answer correct. The series is aptly entitled, the Investigative Series. The second grade teaching team consists of:
Rebekah Cohrs-has taught second grade at Tommie Barfield for four years. She has a Bachelor’s Degree from Calvin College in elementary education and received her Master’s Degree in reading education from FGCU on December 12th. Rebekah enjoys reading and running; is married and has a dog named Chance. “My outlook towards teaching is that I will be a life-long learner and there is always more to learn, adjust, add, and change in my classroom.” Rebekah adds, “I learn a lot from my students and I hope they learn a lot from me. Teaching is extremely rewarding and a career that involves a lot of hard work. I think it’s important to promote kindness through being a role model and set goals for each student”.
Judith Albero-has taught for 28 years from pre-school through 5th grade. Judith has a BS Degree plus many hours of education courses. She is certified in Gifted Education and English Speakers of Other Languages. She enjoys photography, RVing and antique treasure hunting and travelling with her grandchildren. She has a Bihuahua puppy (part Bishon and part Chihuahua). Judith has been a Teacher of Distinction for three consecutive years in the Golden Apple awards. She pitched in a Woman’s Champion softball team in Port Charlotte, Florida. Judith believes, “I am a facilitator of learning. I believe that learning should be fun within a structure! My students discover knowledge by using books and the internet, doing hands-on projects, dramatic plays, working together, and discussing their findings. My students are the “Bright Star Buddies.” I have high expectations, and my students rise to meet them! Our three classroom guidelines for our structure are: Always do your best, do what is right, and treat others as you want to be treated. I believe children can learn to solve their own problems, so I’ve incorporated a “Peace Table” in my classroom. At the table, students work out their differences without attacking, so they can part as friends.”
Tracey Alvarez- has taught Grades K, 1 and 2 for eleven years and another eight years as an Intervention Counselor for Collier County Alternative Schools, for a total of 19 years teaching. Tracey has an A.S. in Paralegal from Broward Community College and a B.S. in Education from Florida Atlantic University and an M.S. in Counseling from Barry University. Tracey has lived in Florida since she was two; is married and has nine year old twins attending Tommie Barfield. In her spare time she enjoys jogging and tennis. Tracey’s general outlook for her classroom is “All kids can learn and have their individual gifts they bring to the classroom.”
Joan Madonna-received her Master’s in Education from Florida Gulf Coast University, and a Bachelor’s in Science Teaching Physical Education from the University of Illinois. She attended Red Rocks Community College in Colorado where she earned an Associate’s Degree in Recreational Leadership. She has been teaching for a total of 36 years from Kindergarten to Second grade and Head Start Pre-Kindergarten. She has coached softball and volleyball and taught gymnastics, as well as physical education and health to grades pre-kindergarten to 8th. She’s taught at Everglades City, Pembroke Pines, North Miami Beach and Tommie Barfield Elementary. Joan enjoys photography, writing poetry and short stories, doing research, volunteering and biking. Joan is married and has two children: Joanna, 18 and Robbie, 16. Joan and her husband come from large families and have over 40 nieces and nephews. Joan has created her own form of writing called ‘Biblical Foetry’. It is a photo and poem she has written inspired by scripture relating to everyday life situations. She is also a published poet. Joan’s goal is to find the special gift each child has to offer to the class and to the world and do what she can to help them share that gift.
Mia Mankiewicz- has been teaching second grade at Tommie Barfield Elementary for four years. Mia graduated from Marietta College with a degree in Early Childhood Education with a Reading Endorsement. Mia is currently working on her Master’s at the American College of Education/Curriculum and Instruction. She loves to read, listen to music, but enjoys spending time with her 15 month old son, Trenton, the most. Mia birthday is on leap year. Her class motto is READ! READ! READ! She has a child-centered, hands-on teaching philosophy.
Diane Stone- received her B.S. Degree from Pace University and went onto earn her Master’s at Connecticut State University. She is a National Board Certified Teacher. She’s taught preschool through second grade for 18 years and multi-age primary (k-12) for 12 years for a total of 30 years teaching. Diane has three sons, one in Naples, one in New York and one on Marco. She has five grandchildren, one dog and one cat. She was born and lived in New York until her family moved to Lighthouse Point, Florida. She started teaching at TBE in 1988. Joan says, “The teachers I’ve met and taught with here have become my closest friends.” Diane believes children learn at different rates, and says “education should be a journey not a race. I encourage my students to always do their personal best. Children become motivated and excited about learning when a subject interests them. Therefore, I try to teach thematic units where the children can make connections between all subjects (math, writing, social studies, science, and reading) and can choose to learn more about a subject they’re interested in.